Written by Jenny Loudon
I am absolutely head over heels and besotted with our new bundle of joy!
I volunteer at Society for Animals in Distress in Midrand, helping to rehabilitate and care for dogs that have come in for sterilisation or other surgeries, and assisting with the other animals on the farm, from cats to donkeys and horses. I regularly fall in love with the patients.
I’ve not had a dog since our family dog, when I was “knee-high to a grasshopper”, living in Cape Town. I am an animal lover of note, and have had rescue cats ever since I moved out of home – I lived London and then moved back to SA when I met the man of my dreams, Richard, in Johannesburg… and of course my two cats came with me, lock, stock and barrel.
My fiancé, Richard, has three daughters and one part-time “son” – the latter being a child of the canine variety. Gus is an English Springer Spaniel who stays with us when the girls come over. He’s besotted with Richard and vice versa so it took me a LONG time to convince Richard that we should get a “full-time” dog. Elmari van der Merwe from Spaniel Welfare SA (SWSA) and I had become Facebook friends by chance; not long after, I spotted a magnificent pair of Springer Spaniels on her Facebook page – Milla and Knox.
Milla had been surrendered just days away from giving birth... and, as Knox was neutered, nobody knew who the father was. I was so excited – borderline obsessed – with the prospect of being able to adopt a Gus “mini-me”. Although Milla is liver-and-white, not black-and-white like Gus, the fact that we could have a Springer Spaniel-mix was an incredible prospect – one that even Richard bought into. I would, of course, have been happy with any fur baby, pup or adult, especially those of the “pavement special” variety, but given Richard’s absolute adoration of Gus, I figured he’d fall for a Gus Jr.
Seeing in black-and-white
On the eve of 9 January, Milla had eight of the most perfect black-and-white baby beans! I felt so attached to them that Lesley-Ann Marshall from Spaniel Welfare put me in touch with amazing foster mom Noelleen Marsden so that I could help with the colossal vet bill and supply puppy milk formula, food, blankets, toys, etc. I was almost unable to contain my excitement as Noelleen sent through photos.
Soon it was time to fetch our baby. Richard had choosing and naming rights... he’d already decided on a name – Kenzo – and we knew that a boy was a must as he already has so many girls in his life – three daughters, ex-wife, Mom, cousins, four female cats... Of the three boys, it was recommended that we take the most chilled who would likely get on best with Gus – and, ironically, he was the only one with almost exactly the same markings as Gus. The resemblance is uncanny and we often stare at Kenzo, thinking Gus has been shrunk!
Our lives have changed forever
It’s been five incredible days now – our lives have changed forever and I still have to pinch myself that this absolutely precious bundle of fluff is ours/mine. Gus has been to socialisation lessons and had an intro session with Kenzo on Friday – he does have “only child syndrome” but has taken to his baby bro very well. Kenzo has been visiting lots of friends (furry and non-furry) and family, been to his first party, out for breakfast, to the shops, and at Puppy Day School – it’s been pretty full on so far!
We have a WhatsApp group for all the new fur moms and dads of Milla and her babies – it’s so heartwarming to see that they’ve gone to such beautiful homes; I’m hoping to arrange play dates with the other pups.
Kenzo is an incredible little soul. He’s been so well brought up by Noelleen and Milla. He’s very chilled but goes from zero to a million miles per hour when it’s playtime. He is a dear and loving boy, and is so relaxed with other dogs (including huge ones!) and loves (chasing) our cats; black-and-white cat actually chases him right back and the two are good friends. In addition to the dozen or so toys of his own, he had, one-by-one, begun stealing ALL of the cats’ toys too – which he much prefers, as they make noises and are soft and fluffy. Simon, my other “son” and more dog than cat, is a little put out by the new arrival. Kenzo sweetly took him one of his own toys to play with; sadly, Simon just gave him the brush off. He’ll come round – he was the same with Gus.
We are absolutely blessed to have adopted this perfect creature, and will do the utmost to ensure he has the best life possible. I am doing a dog grooming and T-touch course at Fluffs n Tufts in Bryanston and Kenzo will be accompanying me on my training. He had his first Puppy Class on Saturday and is already picking things up quickly. There are rumours that Daddy might be a Collie – which would explain the advanced development. And I fear I will be “that” mom – the one who thinks her pup is the best in the class and behaves like a complete “Mumzilla”.
At Easter, Kenzo will be visiting Gus’s spiritual home – the seaside. Gus will teach Kenzo how to make sand angels, travel by boat (with matching sailor bandanas), teach him to fish in rock pools (when he’s big), chase seagulls, and will show off his surfing prowess!
I am so ready for this incredible journey!